Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reductio ad Hitlerum

Walhydra thinks it's way past time for some comic relief...well, sort of comic....

Fortunately, yesterday there was a conjunction of stars on her Bloglines newsreader account, enabling her to cut-and-paste together a post about the bizarreness of our current political climate.

The crux of the "joke" is that the Know Nothings (aka Palinistas), who have wholly subverted the essential conservative thread of debate in this country, seem intent upon knowing more nothing than ever before...with utter distain for how their interference hinders the well-being of the People, so long as they "win" and the party in power "loses."

*ha ha*

Well, here's the conjunction of stars to which Walhydra wants to draw the gentle reader's attention.

WIRED Online has a November 10th article by Matt Blum entitled "10 Geeky Laws That Should Exist, But Don’t." Blum begins with mention of Godwin's Law:

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." The term Godwin's law can also refer to the tradition that whoever makes such a comparison is said to "lose" the debate.

Godwin's Law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the widespread reductio ad Hitlerum form.
That last italicized term snagged Walhydra's eye, since reductio ad Hitlerum seems to be one of the two most slavishly used arguments of the Tea Party crowd (the other being the accusation of *gasp* "socialism!") against health care reform, financial market reform, national security short, against any reform which tries to protect the People from the Owners.

Re the Tea Party crowd, see the second star, Gail Collins in The New York Times:
Meanwhile, there’s nothing but confidence and serenity among the right-wing tea-party types. They cannot get over the triumph in upstate New York, where thanks to their really extraordinary efforts, a completely safe Republican seat went to the Democrats.

Think how far their movement has come! Only a few months ago, they barely had the power to disrupt a town meeting. And soon they will be able to destroy anything in their path, including their own party, like conservative locusts.
The third star is Paul Krugman in his November 9th New York Times blog post [quoted in its entirety]:
What ever happened to “Commie”?

A curious fact — one that I can attest to based on my own inbox, and is also borne out by more general observation — is that “Nazi” is the preferred term of abuse from today’s right wing. We get signs saying “Obama=Hitler”, not Obama=Stalin. I get mail calling me a “dirty Nazi scumbag”, not a Commie or pinko.

What’s going on? It really doesn’t fit, as far as I can tell — and bear in mind the long-running love affair of the National Review with Francisco Franco. You’d really think critics of
ComradePresident Obama would prefer the Soviet comparison.

So is it that given the way Communism fell, not with a bang but with a whimper, it just doesn’t seem menacing enough? Is it the fact that Communism has just sort of faded from consciousness, while war movies keep the image of the evil sneering Nazi alive?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Walhydra asks, "Why aren't you laughing uproariously?"

NO reductio ad Hitlerum


Hystery said...

It is rather "funny" in the sense of peculiar and outrageously stupid. My family and I have had multiple conversations on this very topic. We all find ourselves flung back and forth between incredulity and rage. We laugh too but mostly so we don't start hitting people.

Freedom said...

Hitler is now our scapegoat/boogeyman that everyone can argree was "really, really bad" and has NO redeeming qualities. Communism cannot be attacked as China is now our "friend". They will soon own us as find everything we "own" is made in China and as we owe and owe more and more to that country of savers.

Whenever I see the Hitler tactic raised I know that the writer/speaker is not worthy of my attention which makes it a useful label if you see if as a warning to avoid stuff.

Bright Crow (Mike Shell) said...

What amazes me is that the word "socialist" can still bring McCarthyesque ranters crawling out from under the rocks.

My favorite rebuttal comes from a gay, retired Navy friend of mine who works on a Navy airbase. When his military buddies rant and rave against government-run "socialized" medicine, he just asks: "Um, where do you get your health care?"

They just don't get it.